A FLAWLESS pre-season campaign has Nathan Vardy in good shape to stake his case for the No.1 ruck role at West Coast.
With Nic Naitanui sidelined with a knee injury and Scott Lycett no longer at the club, the Eagles are weighing up their ruck mix heading into 2019.
Vardy was a solid back-up ruckman last year, but faces a battle with new recruit Tom Hickey and rookie Keegan Brooksby for the lead role this season.
It's unclear whether the Eagles will stick with the two-ruck policy they used during their premiership campaign last year, or just go with a single ruckman and a pinch-hitter.
It means Vardy, who was plagued by injuries earlier in his career, needs to put his best foot forward to make sure he stays ahead of the other ruck contenders.
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"The body is feeling really good. I think I've only missed one session and that was when my son was born," Vardy said.
"Being able to do a full pre-season and just grind out the minutes helps me spend more time in the ruck.
"It's been pretty good competition.
"(Hickey) is coming along really well. I played on him a couple of times and he's a very good runner for a ruckman.
"He's not the heaviest or the biggest bloke in the world, but he's very hard to keep up with around the ground."
Naitanui is aiming to return halfway through the season.
West Coast will definitely employ a two-ruck policy when Naitanui returns in order to ease the load on the star ruckmen, who has now undergone two knee reconstructions.
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Hickey played 12 games for the Suns and another 67 for St Kilda before arriving at West Coast via last year's NAB AFL Trade Period.
Vardy and Hickey will have the chance to push their selection cases in Friday's JLT Community Series clash with Geelong at Leederville Oval.